How To Make Image Maps in PowerPoint 2003

creating image maps in PowerPoint
The Action Settings dialog shows the options for configuring hotspots on your images.
(Click for larger image)

When you’re creating a PowerPoint presentation to be viewed individually and not en mass, you can include features that you wouldn’t generally include in a regular PowerPoint presentation.

For example, you could include an image with clickable hotspots as a way to navigate a slide show that tests your viewer’s knowledge or provides them with company information.

In this article I’ll show you how to create image maps in PowerPoint 2003.

How Image Maps Work

creating image maps in PowerPoint
Here we’ve created a rectangular hotspot over the first navigation item.
(Click for larger image)

An image map in PowerPoint is similar to an image map on the Web. You see an image on a slide, and when you hold you mouse over various parts of the image, the cursor turns into a pointing hand.

This indicates that you can click on that portion of the image. When you click an area of the image, something happens —a new slide appears or a Word or Excel document opens on the screen.

When you create an image map you determine what happens when a user clicks a part of the image. You can have multiple hotspots on an image, each of which does something different when clicked.

Let’s begin by looking at your options. On a new slide, add an action button by choosing Slideshow > Action Buttons and select Action Button: Custom. Click-and-drag a shape on your slide and the Action Settings dialog will open.

This dialog shows the actions available for your image hotspots — hotspots behave just like action buttons. So, for example you can use the Hyperlink To option to link to another slide, a URL, another slide show or another file such as an Excel spreadsheet or Word file.

creating image maps in PowerPoint
We configured the shape so that when you click it, go to another slide in the presentation.
(Click for larger image)

When you use a shape (instead of an Action Button) you can opt for the shape to be highlighted if it is clicked. When you’re done you can exit the dialog and delete the Action Button.

Create an Image Map

To create your PowerPoint image map, start by inserting the image that you want to use into your slide.

It might be a navigation image that you have created, or it might be an image of an object that you want to use as part of a quiz, for example to prompt the user to identify a part on a machine or something similar.

To add the image select a new slide and choose Insert > Picture > From File or ClipArt depending on what sort of image you will be using. Size the image to suit.

To create the hotspots, click the Shapes tool on the Drawing toolbar (choose View > Toolbars > Drawing to display it if it’s not visible). Choose a shape that is appropriate for the area you want to cover — it might be a rectangle or an oval or you can use the free-form drawing tool to draw an irregular shape if desired.

Once you have drawn your shape, right-click it and choose Action Settings and determine what will happen when your user clicks the shape.

For example, if you want to move forward to a different slide, choose Hyperlink To and then Slide… and choose the slide to move to — it is possible to move to a hidden slide if desired. To open a file, choose Hyperlink To: > Other File and then select the file using the File Open dialog.

Once you have configured an action for your shape, you can format it by right-clicking it and choosing Format Autoshape > Colors and Lines tab. Here you can set the Line Color to a color of your choice or use No Line to remove the border line. From the Fill Color options choose No Fill to create a transparent shape or select a fill color to use.

creating image maps in PowerPoint
Once you have the shape configured, you can format it as desired.
(Click for larger image)

Continue and add other shapes over various areas of the image. If you overlap two or more shapes, the topmost one is the one that will be selected when that particular area of the image is clicked.

You can hyperlink a number of shapes to a single slide, or you can point each of them to different slides.

If you’re testing knowledge, for example, you may hyperlink all incorrect answers to a slide with more information, and link the right answer to the next slide in the sequence.

Once you have completed your slide, save the slide show and then run the slide show to test your hotspots to make sure they work as planned.

You’ll find lots more software tips and tutorials from Helen Bradley in our Small Business Essential series, How-To With Helen Bradley.

Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site,

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